2016-2018: Kaelan Doyle-Myerscough (S.M., Comparative Media Studies, 2018)
When we think of pleasures to be found in video games, we often talk about power, control, agency, and fun. But to center these pleasures is to privilege certain stories, players, actions and possibility spaces. This thesis uses the framework of intimacy to closely examine three games for their capacity to create pleasure in vulnerability, the loss of control, dependence on others, and precarity.
Drawing from Deleuzian affect theory and feminist, queer and posthuman theorists, I read for intimate affects in the formal, aesthetic, proprioceptive and structural elements of Overwatch, The Last Guardian and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Ultimately, I argue two points: that video games have a unique capacity to generate intimate affects, and that my games of choice push us to rethink our assumptions about what constitutes intimacy more broadly.